Cancer vaccines

The newly approved vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV) is certainly an encouraging development of efforts to prevent cancer by protecting against pernicious invaders. But what about vaccines to treat cancers that have already gotten started? Well, there’s encouraging news there too. There’s a good article at bio.com about vaccines to prime the immune system to recognize tags on cells unique to tumors and to then induce an attack.

…brain cancer researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
are testing an experimental vaccine that homes to a protein studding the surface
of glioblastoma cancer cells. It tricks the body into thinking this protein is
foreign and infectious, which alerts killer immune cells. The same kind of
strategy is producing very promising results in clinical trials at M. D.
Anderson of vaccines for advanced myeloid leukemia as well as other forms of
leukemia, aggressive lymphoma and melanoma.

Still very experimental, but promising.

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